Monday Night Raw – March 16, 2015: It’s Too Late

Monday Night Raw
Date: March 16, 2015
Location: Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines, Iowa
Commentators: Michael Cole, Booker T., John Bradshaw Layfield

There are just two weeks to go before Wrestlemania and the big question tonight is what happens between Randy Orton and Seth Rollins. Last week Orton officially snapped and destroyed Rollins to end the show, meaning it’s time for Rollins to retaliate. Other than that, we’re fully in the build mode to Wrestlemania. Let’s get to it.

We open with clips of Orton’s sitdown interview with Michael Cole from Smackdown where he explained his actions last week. Tonight he plans on challenging Rollins for Wrestlemania. Maybe after that he can challenge the writers to put together a story that isn’t full of holes.

The Authority is in the ring and Seth doesn’t look pleased. We’re in Iowa so he’s a hero this week. Rollins says last week was a betrayal at the hands of Randy Orton. This is nothing like what he did to the Shield because that was a sound business decision. Orton conned his way back into the Authority and made fools out of everyone, including HHH and Stephanie. Oh dang he’s done then. Seth yells at Big Show for welcoming Orton back but Show says Orton was cruel last week. He can crush Orton because he’s a giant. Thank goodness they’re just spelling it out now.

Kane promises to hurt Orton too. Noble: “Seth, I know I’m considered the secret weapon of the Authority.” Rollins’ reaction is great as his eyes shift back and forth. Noble and Mercury want to get rid of Orton too and Rollins says Orton has never dealt with anyone like him. Seth accepts the challenge for Wrestlemania, but Orton has to face him tonight first. Cue Randy to accept the challenge and promises he has enough venom for all of the Authority. A beatdown tonight would make hurting Rollins at Wrestlemania so much sweeter. These fifteen minute speeches to set up a match kill my interest in the show. Just get on with it already.

AJ Lee vs. Nikki Bella

Non-title. The Bellas get an inset before the match. “Give Divas a chance? Give us a break.” Nikki drives shoulders into the corner to start but stops to do some push-ups. AJ grabs an armbar for a bit before taking Nikki to the apron with a headscissors. We take a break and come back with AJ getting taken down by an armbar. Nikki sends her shoulder first into the buckle as the announcers talk about Booker’s wife and the View. This has nothing to do with the match but that goes without saying when it comes to commentary.

AJ comes back with a guillotine choke but gets driven into the corner again. A high cross body gets two on the champ but she plants AJ with a facebuster for the same. Nikki sends her out to the floor but Paige stops Brie from interfering. Brie posts Paige as a result, leaving Nikki to hit her forearm, and the Rack Attack for the completely clean pin at 11:00.

Rating: C+. This was better as the girls are easily more entertaining (most of the time) when they get more time. However, this match was another example of why the Divas have a major issue with getting to where their male counterparts are: their looks. When you have Nikki Bella in skin tight shorts and Brie showing off her well toned abs and AJ and Paige both being great looking, it’s hard to base a match on its merits. That’s not a knock on the girls as the all look great. It’s just distracting to look at and takes away from what I’m supposed to be focusing on.

We look at Mark Henry yelling at Roman Reigns on Smackdown and getting laid out with a Superman Punch.

Kane and Big Show argue over who is going to deal with Orton. Rollins comes in and yells at them but Kane says the giants liked seeing Orton beat him down last week. Kane allowed him to win Money in the Bank, so he won’t be in Seth’s corner tonight. Show stares at Rollins but doesn’t say anything.

Ryback vs. Miz

Rematch from Smackdown where Ryback won. We get an inset interview where Miz says Mizdow will help him win the battle royal or else. Miz stomps away in the corner to start but Ryback takes him to the floor and tells Mizdow to hit his boss, only to have Miz fight out and yell at Mizdow. Back in and the spinebuster sets up the Meat Hook and Shell Shock to give Ryback the pin at 1:57.

Mizdow helps Miz up post match but eats the Skull Crushing Finale.

Video on Cena choking Rusev out last week to earn another US Title match.

Sheamus return video. I’m assuming he’s back at Wrestlemania.

It’s time for a contract signing between Cena and Rusev. Cena comes out first and soaks up the dueling chants. He calls this the most important contract he’s ever signed before because he’s up against someone who has never met a challenge he hasn’t overcome. Rusev is the champion of the United States, meaning he represents each and every one of the fans. That’s what makes the match so important.

Cena can beat Rusev up all he wants but it doesn’t matter as long as Rusev has that title. It’s disrespectful that Rusev represents a country they all call home and the fans chant USA. Cena goes all patriotic and says Wrestlemania is the revolution. Does that make him James Storm? You can only push the US so far before they rise up. Cena signs so Cole brings out Rusev, who is minus Lana but with what looks like a lawyer. Fans: “WE WANT LANA!”

The lawyer says Rusev isn’t signing and shows us a clip of Stephanie (of course) saying only Rusev can make the match. We then see Lana making the match and JBL just unloads on the lawyer for the worst Russian accent of all time. Rusev has to be allowed to read a full statement with no interference from Cena in order for the match to be made. The statement is about America being obsessed with embracing failures and there goes Cena’s hat. He mocks the Star Spangled Banner and Cena is about to erupt. Rusev signs and turns the table over before running. The Russian flag comes down for good measure.

New Day vs. Cesaro/Tyson Kidd

Non-title with Woods on the floor. Kidd and Cesaro’s inset interview show them doing a clapping routine ala New Day while saying fact over and over. That might be the best thing I’ve ever seen. Los Matadores come out to watch. Natalya is looking GREAT here in a full body leather suit. Big E. throws Kidd around to start before it’s off to Cesaro vs. Kofi. Cesaro quickly swings him but stops when the referee points at Kidd for some reason. Trouble in Paradise nails Kidd but Cesaro uppercuts Kofi in the back of the head for the pin at 1:52. That was a really messy ending and I’m not sure what happened.

Post match Woods gets into it with Los Matadores but eats the Neutralizer. Los Matadores beat down Cesaro and stand alto.

We look at Undertaker’s lightning striking Bray’s chair last week.

Rollins tells the Stooges he needs them there tonight. Noble says Rollins told them to get out last week and kind of stands up to Seth, earning him a slap to his face. Jamie thinks Rollins is getting full of himself and that briefcase so Rollins is about to fire him. That doesn’t happen because Jamie quits and Mercury walks off with him. I really hope those two stick around as they’re on fire at the moment.

We get a sitdown interview with Brock where he says he’s on this planet to hurt people. That may be sadistic but he enjoys it. Wrestlemania means getting to beat people up on a big stage. Undertaker had no chance of beating him and he loved seeing people shocked. As for his contract with WWE, if he stays, he’ll be WWE Champion. On the other hand, if he goes, he’ll be WWE Champion.

As a rookie, he sent Rock to Hollywood. Then he ended the Streak. Then he knocked John Cena out of the main event. If you think Brock was crazy in hunting mode, wait until you see him in defense mode. He says he’s going to censored up Roman Reigns at Wrestlemania and walks off. Bringing up the contract idea is interesting and makes me think something is up. Side note: Brock isn’t known for his talking, but he’s miles ahead of Reigns on the mic.

Big Show vs. Erick Rowan

Rowan’s entrance was after a break but I had his name typed in before we came back. How did I know? Because who else was going to be in this spot? Serious question. Who else was going to be in that spot? Rowan is Big Show’s official whipping boy and there was almost no one else that was going to lose here.

There’s no match anyway as Big Show destroys him before the bell and hits the KO, setting up a middle rope elbow.

Larry Zbyszko Hall of Fame video. They’re starting to stretch for names, though there are worse names than Larry.

Kane and a bunch of midcarders in the Andre battle royal are in the ring with Kane offering to demonstrate why he’s going to win. This brings out Mark Henry to throw his hat in. A brawl breaks out with Axel sneaking to the floor and standing next to the trophy. We wind up with Kane and Henry with Mark throwing Kane to the floor. Axel sneaks in and tries to dump Mark, only to get tossed with ease. That’s a lot better than he did last week.

Here’s Heyman with something to say. He talks about Lesnar being the most legitimately dominant champion in the history of WWE or MMA. Lesnar is a warrior and a conqueror, who is bringing a club to Wrestlemania to dominate Roman Reigns. If Lesnar destroys Reigns, are they going to just cut the feed? Are they going to refund the money? WWE is stuck with Lesnar as WWE Champion….and there goes the mic.

Heyman thinks it’s funny because Reigns is going to get destroyed and turned into the next great Samoan American’t. He keeps saying you can’t over and over again until Reigns comes out with an “I can and I will” shirt. Reigns says this is between himself and Lesnar. He isn’t coming into this expecting a fairy tale. Reigns is hoping for a fight but expects a war. All those family members of his will carry him out, but they’ll carry him out as champion.

We recap Orton, Rollins and the Stooges earlier.

Stardust/Bad News Barrett/Luke Harper vs. Daniel Bryan/Dolph Ziggler/Dean Ambrose

Truth comes out with the title hanging from his back like a backpack. Dean beats up Stardust to start before it’s quickly off to Daniel for some forearms. The surfboard makes Stardust scream and Ziggler knocks him outside as we take a break. Back with Barrett working on Ziggler in the corner and elbowing him in the jaw for two.

Off to Harper for some choking with the boot before it’s back to Barrett, who misses the running boot in the corner. Harper is smart enough to clear out Dolph’s partners but the powerbomb is countered again. Has Ziggler been training with Kidman? Everything breaks down and Harper’s big boot and Batista Bomb get two as we take another break. We come back with Ziggler countering Wasteland with a DDT.

Truth talks about being lucky like a rabbit’s foot. Is he supposed to sound like Mike Tyson? The hot tag brings in Bryan and everything breaks down. Ambrose tags himself in and beats up Stardust, only to get kicked by Harper. Dolph kicks Bryan by mistake before kicking Harper as well. Barrett Wastelands Dolph onto his partners but Barrett counters the Bull Hammer into Wasteland for the pin at 17:00.

Rating: C+. This was a long tag match that helped set up more of the drama, but at the end of the day, these matches don’t mean much when you’re going into a ladder match. At least Truth is still funny on commentary and they’ve cut out the stupid stealing the title schtick. Good match here.

Truth gets caught with the belt and Stardust runs off with it into the crowd. Ambrose takes it back but drops it at ringside, allowing Truth to pick it up again. Harper gets in his face so Truth throws it inside. Bryan and Ziggler get in a fight until Harper interferes, allowing Barrett to Bull Hammer everyone and take the belt. Truth eats a Bull Hammer for good measure.

Rollins goes in to see the Authority but Stephanie tells him to fix this himself. Seth asks when HHH is going to stop hiding from Sting but Stephanie tells him to man up.

Bray Wyatt talks about Abigail warning him about the evils of the world, including someone like Undertaker. Undertaker tried to use the urn to burn fear into his heart. Bray pours the ashes out of the urn as he talks about Undertaker’s spirit being broken last year. That opened the eyes of the world and took away the Undertaker’s destiny. No one is safe at Wrestlemania.

Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins

Rollins stops on the stage to say it took Orton three weeks to make the Authority look like fools, yet it only took three hours for Rollins to make a fool out of him. Cue the full Authority so Orton wisely goes to get a chair. The ring is surrounded as the fans want Sting. That’s exactly what they get too as Sting appears and helps clean house with the bat to a BIG ovation from the crowd. The Stooges take finishers

Overall Rating: C+. They’re firmly in last minute build mode here and this show helped, but it’s WAY too late to really make this show work. At the end of the day, Wrestlemania can’t be built up like any other show and if you try to do it that way, things just aren’t going to work. Reigns is fitting in well with the “yes I can” bit, but I have little faith in WWE to stick with that all the way until Wrestlemania.

The wrestling was better this week with the Divas looking good and the long tag match working, but those matches are more than set already. That’s the problem with this point in time: everything is already set, so what is there left to do on these shows other than kill time? This was better than the previous weeks but still nothing great.

Results

Nikki Bella b. AJ Lee – Rack Attack

Ryback b. Miz – Shell Shock

Cesaro/Tyson Kidd b. New Day – Uppercut to Kingston

Dean Ambrose/Dolph Ziggler/Daniel Bryan b. Luke Harper/Bad News Barrett/Stardust – Dirty Deeds to Barrett

Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and pick up my new book on the History of Saturday Night’s Main Event at Amazon for just $3.99 at:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00SATPVKW

And check out my Amazon author page with wrestling books for under $4 at:


http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6

7 comments

  1. Jay H (the real one) says:

    Not quite as good as the last two weeks but still solid enough. Sting showing up at the end was great. He definitely showed more fire tonight than he has the last few years in TNA. I liked Brock and Reigns promos and the 6-Man Tag.

    Something tells me Brock Lesnar is sticking around since they are touching on his contract situation. Be interesting to see if he wins or drops the Belt at Mania but stays if he loses.

  2. Conor says:

    So you literally cannot appreciate a single thing an attractive woman can do beyond her looks? Jesus..,

    Show was total junk bar Lesnar and Sting. Even worse than last week, which I wasn’t sure was possible.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    Not quite what I said but go with that if you wish.

  3. Your Eternal Reward says:

    Next week the show should just be every wrestler coming out for 2-5 minutes, pointing at the wrestlemania sign and leaving. That would probably be just as entertaining as what we’ve gotten for the past several months.

  4. Derek Hamel says:

    With the exception of Savage, the inductees into this year’s WWE HOF have been total jokes…until tonight. Finally, a worthy pick. Congrats from all the Spudheads to Larry Z.

  5. james gracie says:

    Oh man how bad was that? Does WWE realize that Wrestlemania is only 13 days away? What a terrible job they’ve done building that show up. I’m actually impressed how terrible the build has been. I don’t care about any of these matches and the one match I would care about, they’re not even doing which is Miz vs Mizdow. I mean Orton destroyed Rollins last week. Why the fuck should I care about their match at Mania? I already saw the big payoff.

    Man Reigns vs Lesnar is gonna suck. Kayfabe wise, if Reigns wanted to go face to face with Lesnar, why didn’t he come out last week when Heyman was cutting his promo? Good God just pull the plug on Reigns. In fact just do Bryan vs Lesnar with no explanation instead. No one would complain.

    Did you see the guys in this pointless battle royal? LOL. It’s all a bunch of losers and jobbers in that match. That match has to be on the pre show now. . I mean it’s a 2 hour pre show so they need to fill time. Probably add a tag title clusterfuck to that show too.

    I don’t even know what Wyatt said. I fast forward through his nonsensical promos now. And the IC title clusterfuck is a great way to show wrestling fans how to book a match without getting anyone over. Good job WWE. And I could give two shits about Sting vs Triple H either. I wonder if WWE is in panic mode and is gonna put that match on last now. Cause Reigns vs Lesnar is such an afterthought at this point. Especially Reigns. And their face to face next week might actually make things even worse if that’s even possible.

    Awful show tonight but it might pick up next week for the go home show with SNOOP DOG! LOL are they even trying anymore? Nothing on this show makes sense. None of these storylines make sense. It’s a fucking joke. And then they’ll wonder why everyone cancelled their Network subscriptions after Mania. #VinceIsSoftAndOutOfTouch #FireStephanie #GiveBryanAChance #OhManHowBadWasThat

    .

  6. Aeon Mathix says:

    The real question remains about wrestlemania. does sting wrestle in a shirt?